USS Mindanao (ARG-3)

USS Mindanao (ARG-3) was a Luzon-class internal combustion engine repair ship that saw service in the United States Navy during World War II. Named for the Island of Mindanao, second largest and southernmost island in the Philippines, it was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.

Port stern view of USS Mindanao (ARG-3), 23 November 1943, at Hampton Roads, Virginia.
United States
  • Elbert Hubbard
  • Mindanao
Ordered: as a Type EC2-S-C1 hull, MCE hull 983[1]
Builder: Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore, Maryland
Yard number: 2133[1]
Laid down: 11 April 1943
Launched: 13 May 1943
Acquired: 20 May 1943
Commissioned: 6 November 1943
Decommissioned: 17 May 1947
Struck: 1 September 1961
Status: reefed 11 November 1980
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: Luzon-class Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship
Type: Type EC2-S-C1
  • 4,023 long tons (4,088 t) (light load)
  • 14,350 long tons (14,580 t) (full load)
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)
Beam: 56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)
Draft: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Installed power:
Speed: 12.5 kn (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph) (ship's trials)
Complement: 31 officers, 552 enlisted


Mindanao was laid down 11 April 1943, as the liberty ship SS Elbert Hubbard, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract, MCE hull 983, by the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Inc., in Baltimore, Maryland; launched 13 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. C. R. Spalding; acquired by the Navy on 20 May 1943; and commissioned as Mindanao on 6 November 1943, with Commander George B. Evans in command.[3]

Service history

After shakedown in Chesapeake Bay, Mindanao joined Task Group 29.7 (TG 29.7) on 20 December 1943, and sailed for Cuba, the Panama Canal, and Nouméa, New Caledonia, arriving 27 January 1944, to report for duty with Service Squadron South Pacific. The repair ship immediately found herself with more than enough work. On 25 February, she sailed to continue her vital task at Espiritu Santo, and in September she arrived at Manus to serve the forces staging for the Philippine campaign.[3]

Mount Hood explosion

Now with TG 30.9, she was anchored in Seeadler Harbor on the morning of 10 November, when at about 08:50 the ammunition ship Mount Hood blew up. Mindanao, 350 yd (320 m) away, suffered extensive damage particularly to her superstructure, and aft. Of her crew, 180 were killed or wounded. The survivors, with Seabees from shore, immediately began to aid the wounded and clear the debris, a job which took seven days. Repairs began on 18 November, performed by her own crew with aid again from Seabees, as well as men and equipment from Medusa. By 21 December, Mindanao was ready to resume her key function in repairing engines for other ships.[3]

Return to duty

After a brief voyage to the Solomon Islands in February and March 1945, Mindanao arrived at Ulithi 27 March, to prepare ships for the Okinawa campaign. There she served until 9 October, when she sailed for periods of duty at Okinawa and Shanghai.[3]


Her duty supporting the occupation forces complete, Mindanao got underway for home 26 March 1946. She called at San Pedro, California; Balboa and Colón, in the Panama Canal Zone; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Galveston, Texas, before arriving Orange, Texas, on 12 July. She decommissioned there 17 May 1947, to join the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, and remained at Orange, even after being struck from the Naval Vessel Register and transferred to the Maritime Commission (MARCOM) in 1961.[3] On 9 May 1961, she joined the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Beaumont, Texas, where she remained until 19 April 1976, when she was withdrawn by the Navy to have her equipment removed. On 28 September 1976, Mindanao entered the James River NDRF, Lee Hall, Virginia, until she was finally withdrawn 12 March 1980, to become part of Florida's artificial reef program.[4]


On 11 November 1980, the ex-Mindanao was scuttled to form an artificial reef off Daytona Beach, Florida, in 85-foot-deep (26 m) water at 29°12.00′N 80°44.87′W, 11 mi (18 km) northeast of Ponce de León Inlet.[5]



    Online resources

    • "Mindanao II (ARG-3)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History and Heritage Command. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
    • "Bethlehem-Fairfield, Baltimore MD". 14 August 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
    • "USS Mindanao (ARG-3)". 3 March 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
    • "MINDANAO (ARG-3)". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
    • "Artificial Reef Sites Information". Volusia County Reef Research Dive Team Inc. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2008.

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